Peter Dobson first gained fame portraying Dominic in the musical “Sing” (1989). He has since appeared on the big screen in “Last Exit to Brooklyn” (1989), “The Marrying Man” (1991), “Forrest Gump” (1994), “The Frightener” (1996), “Quiet Days in Hollywood” (1997), “Drowning Mona” (2000), “Snowbound” (2001), “Protecting the King” (2007) and “2:22” (2008), among other films. He has also played regular roles on the TV series “Lenny” (1990-1991), “Johnny Bago” (1993), “Head Over Heels” (1997) and “Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family” (2000-2001) and a recurring role in “Party of Five” (1994). In addition, he has acted in many TV films, including “Norma Jean & Marilyn” (1996), “The Poseidon Adventure” (2005) and “A Stranger's Heart” (2007) and guest starred in such popular series as “CSI,” “CSI: NY,” “CSI: Miami” and “Cold Case.”
Childhood and Family:
Peter Dobson was born on July 16, 1964, in Red Bank, New Jersey. His father was a contractor and his mother was an activist. In the early 1980s, he moved to New York City, where he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Lee Strasberg Institute. Peter, however, quit AADA and moved to Santa Cruz, California, in 1985.
Peter Dobson made his first screen appearance when he landed an unaccredited role in the 1986 comedy “Modern Girls,” which was directed by Jerry Kramer. He made his television debut in the NBC TV movie “Bates Motel” (1987), which starred Bud Cort, Lori Petty and Moses Gunn. He received a larger role in Martha Coolidge's “Plain Clothes,” where he portrayed the villain Kyle Kerns. The film starred Arliss Howard, Suzy Amis, Seymour Cassel and Diane Ladd. He also appeared in Ulli Lommel's thriller “Defense Play.”
Dobson's breakout role came when director Richard J. Baskin cast him in the starring role of Dominic in the musical “Sing” (1989), opposite Lorraine Bracco and Jessica Steen. Despite the film being a failure, his performance in it launched his career and he received a costarring role, opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stephen Lang and Burt Young, in the drama “Last Exit to Brooklyn” (1989). Also in 1989, Dobson had his first episode debut in “Miami Vice” and gave a notable performance in the NBC film “L.A. Takedown,” which was written and directed by Michael Mann. He then received a supporting role in the CBS TV film “So Proudly We Hail” (1990), starring David Soul, Edward Herrmann and Chad Lowe, and made his debut as a regular on the short lived CBS sitcom “Lenny” (September 1990 to March 1991), in which he played Eddie Callahan.
Dobson resurfaced on the wide screen with the supporting role of Tony in “The Marrying Man,” a 1991 romantic comedy starring Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. Directed by Jerry Rees and written by Neil Simon, the film was nominated for a Razzie in the category of Worst Actress for Basinger's performance as Vicki Anderson. He then played Sam in Thomas F. Mazziotti's “Undertow” (1991) and was cast in Marc Rocco's “Where the Day Takes You” (1992). He also supported Drew Barrymore and George Newton in Avi Nesher's “Doppelganger” and had a featured role in Doug Ellin's “The Waiter,” starring David Schwimmer and Jon Cryer (both 1993). Meanwhile in 1992, Dobson costarred with Valerie Bertinelli and George Dzundza in the NBC television film “What She Doesn't Know.” The next year, he starred in the short lived CBS sitcom “Johnny Bago,” which premiered on June 25, 1993. He remained on the small screen by working with Jamey Sheridan and Sela Ward in the NBC film “Killer Rules” (1993) and appeared in episodes of “Herman's Head” (1993), “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.,” (1994) and “Tales from the Crypt” (1994). He also received a recurring role on Fox's hit series “Party of Five” (1994, as Morgan Lathem).
In 1994, moviegoers found Dobson portraying a young Elvis Presley in Robert Zemeckis' blockbuster hit movie “Forrest Gump,” which starred Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise. He then appeared with Heather Graham and Lisa Zane in the horror film “Terrified” (1995), Lysette Anthony and Michael Champion in the direct to video action film “Dead Cold” (1995) and Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, John Astin, Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace, Jake Busey and Chi McBride in Peter Jackson's thriller “The Frightener” (1996). In “The Big Squeeze” (1996), an indie film written and helmed by Marcus DeLeon, he played a young hustler named Benny O'Malley. During 1995 to 1996, Dobson also guest starred in Showtime's anthology series “Fallen Angels” and “Can't Hurry Love” (both 1995) and portrayed Joe DiMaggio in the Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominated biopic “Norma Jean & Marilyn” (HBO, 1996), starring Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.
The actor returned to regular series work when he starred as Jack Baldwin on the UPN sitcom “Head Over Heels.” The show lasted from August 26 to October 28, 1997. The same year, he also appeared in the TV films “Riot” and “All Lies End in Murder” (with Kim Delaney, Jamey Sheridan and Kevin Kilner) and in the films “Quiet Days in Hollywood” and “The Good Life,” a comedy starring Frank Stallone, Dennis Hopper and Marina Anderson. After starring in two shorts, “Lone Greasers” (1998) and “Choose Life” (1999, also a writer), he received featured roles in the HBO biopic “Lansky” (1999), starring Richard Dreyfuss as Meyer Lansky, and Ron Senkowski's thriller “A Table for One” (1999), starring Rebecca De Mornay, Michael Rooker and Mark Rolston.
Entering the new millennium, Dobson portrayed a police detective after a killer in the comedy “Drowning Mona” (2000). He then starred with Dina Meyer and Jon Polito in Rupert Hitzig's “Nowhere Land” (2000) and worked on the USA Network series “Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family,” opposite Melora Hardin. Dobson was then seen in such films as Mars Callahan's “Zigs” (2001, with Jason Priestley), Ruben Preuss' “Snowbound” (2001, with Erika Eleniak and Monika Schnarre), “Night of the Wolf” (2002, TV), “Poolhall Junkies” (2002, reunited with director/writer Mars Callahan), Lee Madsen's “Red Zone” (2003, starred Freddy Rodríguez, Carmine Giovinazzo and Jason Loughridge), and Mark L. Lester's “Betrayal” (2003). He also appeared in Isaac H. Eaton's “Spin, Shoot & Run” (2003), Ash Baron-Cohen's “This Girl's Life” (2003), John Putch's “The Poseidon Adventure” (2005, TV), Melissa Balin's “Freezerburn” (2005) and Shira-Lee Shalit's “A-List” (2006, starred Sally Kirkland). In addition, he acted in episodes of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2003), “CSI: Miami” (2004) and “CSI: NY” (2005).
2007 saw Dobson star as Jasper Cates in the television film “A Stranger's Heart,” opposite Samantha Mathis, as Jack in the film “Made in Brooklyn,” where he served as co-producer, and Elvis Presley in “Protecting the King.” The same year, he also appeared in an episode of “The Happiest Girl” called “Big Love.” The next year, he teamed up with Nicholas Turturro, Christina Murphy and Joanne Kelly in Brian J. Smith's comedy “Remembering Phil,” with Mick Rossi, Robert Miano and Aaron Gallagher in Phillip Guzman's “2:22,” and Sara Jean Barrett, Dorie Barton and Emayatzy E. Corinealdi in the TV film “The Nanny Express.” He also appeared in an episode of “Cold Case” called “The Dealer” (2008).
In 2010, Dobson portrayed Arnie Barlow in “Nevada v. Rodgers,” an episode of “The Defenders.” He is rumored to be playing character Jesse Garrett in the comedy film “King of the Road” (2011), directed by Robert Taleghany. He will also act in the film “City of Shoulders and Noses” (2011), opposite Crispin Glover, Peter Mensah and Brad Dourif.